Best 8 American Whiskeys to Buy for the 2021 Holiday Season
The holidays are upon us, and after hundreds of whiskeys tasted this year, Whiskey Raiders is back once more with our annual American Whiskey guide. Whether you’re gifting, stocking up for a gathering or just picking up a bottle to enjoy this Holiday season, here are the eight American Whiskeys you need in 2021.
There’s no better time than the holidays to start with a bang. A high proof regardless of batch, Bulleit Barrel Strength is a wildly affordable option that’s available and versatile. This Kentucky Straight Bourbon whiskey may come without an age statement, but it’s loaded with plenty of oak, spice and, most importantly, dessert notes left and right. Brown sugar, toffee and brown butter make this a dangerously easy sipper or a great cocktail spine.
Penelope’s 80-proof bourbon is designed and blended with mixing in mind. Perfect for a spiked hot apple cider, an Old Fashioned or a more adventurous winter cocktail, this value-minded bourbon comes expertly blended by COO and Founder Danny Polise using a four-grain mash bill.
Uncle Nearest 1856
There’s a reason that Uncle Nearest’s 1856 release has won more than 150 awards. Bold and sweet, Uncle Nearest 1856 presents a rich mouthfeel, plenty of oak and a variety of toffee, clover honey on the finish and candied pecans on the palate.
For fans of the spicier things in life, Wild Turkey 101 Rye is perhaps Wild Turkey’s best release in 2021. The product has existed for years in select markets, typically only offered to on-premise establishments (think bars and restaurants), but in 2021, the brand made a huge push to get Wild Turkey 101 back in the hands of the everyday drinker. As a result, this $30 bottle is a perfect combination of age, proof and big whiskey character. Serve it blind to surprise your Uncle who only believes in $100 whiskey, mix it up in the best Manhattan you’ll make this holiday season or drink it neat. There’s little that Wild Turkey 101 doesn’t excel at.
Pivoting back to high-octane whiskey, Maker’s Mark recently put a lot of emphasis on appealing to not only whiskey fans but whiskey enthusiasts. Can’t reliably find Old Weller Antique? No sweat. Maker’s Mark Cask Strength is a high-proof wheated bourbon that every whiskey fan, new or old, needs on their bar. You’ll never go hunting for Weller again.
Perhaps the boldest and the brashest of the Tennessee Whiskeys, Jack Daniel’s has made its name selling millions of bottles of Old No.7 all while keeping their secret rockstar in the shadows. Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Barrel Proof is a flavor monster. There’s just no other way to say it. This release features bottlings pulled from individual barrels and bottled with no dilution. The result is a 60%-plus-ABV bourbon that crushes any fear that a boring whiskey might be on the way. It is full of banana cream pie, toffee, bold oak, tobacco and a sweet toffee finish. Forget that bad experience you had with Old No.7 at that concert years back, Jack Daniel’s sleeper whiskey will ignite your love of Tennessee whiskey if you weren’t already a fan.
Tried and true, there’s a reason that folks hunt high and low for this bourbon whiskey from none other than Buffalo Trace. Buffalo & Ginger is a perfect mixed drink, and Buffalo Trace sips great neat, with plenty of flavor but not too strong. With most barrels going into this release around the eight-year mark, it’s a great value and presents plenty of sweet oak, brown sugar, a touch of apple pie spice and a long honey finish. Perfect for the holidays. Skip the hunt and frustration, snag a bottle online and enjoy.
Last but not least is one of our favorite craft whiskey producers, rising to the limelight. Distilled in Woodinville, Washington State, it’s an unlikely spot that’s beginning to garner great fame. Woodinville’s use of a potstill brings big, oily texture and a lovely bouquet of bourbon character. Maple, tobacco, cinnamon and a decadent nose make this bottling hard to put down. If you’re tired of buying the same whiskey month in and month out, branching into Woodinville’s offerings is a perfect cure to your bourbon boredom.
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